Best of Sri Lanka

Tour Itinerary

Day 01

Negombo Beach Sri Lanka

You will be warmly welcomed at the Colombo International Airport arrival lobby by your chauffeur guide and assist you through to the vehicle. Thereafter, proceed to Negombo and check-in to your hotel. (Standard check-in time is 14:00 hrs.) (Approx. 30 mints.)

Day 02

Polonnaruwa gal viharaya

After having breakfast, proceed towards the cultural triangle (Approx. 4 hrs.) Situated in the centre of the island and covers an area which includes the World Heritage cultural sites of the Sacred City of Anuradhapura, the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, the Ancient Fortress Sigiriya, the cave temples of Dambulla and the Cultural Capital Kandy.

Check-in at your hotel, take some time out to refresh & relax before heading towards the ancient city of Polonnaruwa. (Approx. 45 mints.) Yet another UNESCO world heritage site. King Vijayabahu is said to be the creator of this 2nd capital of Sri Lanka in the 11th century AD. More well-known is King Parakramabahu who developed the city, landscaped it and built several lakes to catch the rainwater for irrigation. One lake is so large that it is known as the Parakrama “Samudra” (Sea). A statue 12’ tall stands by the banks of this lake and it is commonly believed that it represents King Parakramabahu. More archaeological sites welcome the visitor: The ruins of the Royal Palace, the Gal Viharaya where four splendid statues of the Buddha in ‘Upright’, ‘Sedentary’ and ‘Recumbent’ postures carved out of rock, the Audience Hall and the Lotus Bath, There are also monuments of famous places of worship such as the Shiva Temple, the Lankathilaka, the Vatadage, the Galpotha, the Kiri Vehera and the remains of a former Temple of the Tooth Relic.

Thereafter continue to Udawalawe. Stop in Weligama to capture the beauty of stilt fisherman.Additional option of cycling through the city is also available and could be an exciting way to discover the ruins.
After an eventful day travel back to your hotel.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Dambulla / Habarana

Day 03

Sigiriya Sri Lanka

After breakfast visit the ancient Kingdom Sigiriya. (Approx. 15 mints.) Another UNESCO world heritage site. King Kashyapa (477-495 AD) built this impregnable fortress on a solitary rock rising about 200 metres from the scrub jungle. The rock was the innermost stronghold of a 70 hectare fortified town. A moat, rampart, and extensive gardens including the renowned water gardens ring the base of the rock. Remains of Kashyapa’s palace atop the rock covers an area of about 3 acres. The name Sigiriya means the Lion’s Rock, so called perhaps because the steep climb to the top begins between two huge lion’s paws carved from the rock. Midway through the ascent you would see the world-renowned frescoes of the ”Heavenly Maidens” of Sigiriya, which are on a sheltered face of the rock approached by a spiral stairway. These magnificent frescoes were painted 1,500 years ago on plaster using earth pigments.

On completion proceed to Hiriwadunna a small village near Habarana to witness the authentic way of life in Sri Lanka. During the village tour you would experience a bullock cart ride, a catamaran ride, and a village lunch with a cooking demonstration.
Hiriwadunna is all about Sri Lankan village life. In other words, it is a tale garnished with chirps of birds, fishermen carrying their nets and rods praying for a fine catch as well as an occasional crocodile basking on a shore of the lake. Do not have doubts about ample birdlife and butterflies as blessing visitors with the ‘soft winged’ is a part of Hiriwadunna’s schedule. Roam around with a local farmer before you hand-pick vegetables and join the experts in preparing them. Or hop into a bullock cart and toss along the gravel road for a memorable sightseeing tour that will remain memories of a lifetime.

On completion return to the hotel.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Dambulla / Habarana

Day 04

Anuradhapura Sri Lanka

After breakfast proceed to Mihintale. (Approx. 1 hr.) “The Mountain of Mahinda” is venerated as the place where King Tissa was first converted to Buddhism around 306 BC, by Mahinda, a son of King Asoka of India, and thus Buddhism took root in Sri Lanka. The serenity of the place is captivating. The mountain top is reached by a grand stairway of 1,840 steps made out of granite slabs 15′ wide. When that ends in an area dotted with shrines, the rock on which Mahinda is said to have been standing is reached by a more difficult stairway. The panoramic view from the top is fascinating. The mountain comes alive in June when devotees flock there on the Full Moon day to celebrate the beginning of Buddhism in the Island.

Thereafter continue your journey towards Anuradhapura. (Approx. 30 mints.) Anuradhapura was the capital of 113 kings of Sri Lanka and thrived from 378 BC to 988 AD. The British revived the city in 1872, and a new city of Anuradhapura was built alongside the old in 1957. The old city is given the status of a “Holy City” and it is a popular destination for Buddhist pilgrims from all over the Island.

Two World Heritage Sites are located here and many places of historical and archaeological interest can be visited. With the advent of Buddhism to Sri Lanka, the kings built a number of magnificent and colossal places of worship which have been beautifully restored: The Ruwanweliseya (the tallest and the largest ‘Dagoba” in the world), Thuparamaya, Jethawanaramaya, Abhayagiriya and Mirisawetiya are among them. The 1,600 stone columns of the Brazen Palace (2nd century BC) are all that is left of a multi-storied residence for monks. Legend has it that a branch of the Bo tree under which Prince Gautama attained enlightenment and became Buddha, was brought to Sri Lanka more than 2,000 years ago by a daughter of King Asoka of India. This sacred Bo Tree is the centre of Buddhist worship in Anuradhapura and it is encircled by a golden fence. It is the oldest historically documented tree in the world. A ‘Samadhi’ (seated in deep meditation) Buddha statue (4th century AD) is at the centre of a large park, the “Mahamevna” built in the time of the ancient kings and it is one of the most famous statues in the Buddhist world. The Isurumuniya rock temple (3rd century BC) is well-known for its rock carvings.

On completion return to the hotel.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Dambulla / Habarana

Day 05

Dambulla golden temple

Take an early breakfast, and start your days preceding by visiting Dambulla cave Temples. (Approx. 30 mints.) The origin of the Dambulla Rock Temple dates back to King Walagamba in the 1st century B.C. It is an UNESCO World Heritage Site – a complex of five caves with over 2000 sq. metres of painted walls and ceilings. They contain over 150 statues of the Buddha of which the largest is the reclining figure of the Buddha carved out of rock and spanning 14 metres. A most interesting place to visit, involving a short climb along a path lined by monkeys who prance about hoping for handouts.

Thereafter proceed to Kandy, and en route stop at a spice garden in Matale. (Approx. 1 hr. & 15 mints.) An agricultural zone in the Central Province, Matale seldom drops off the maps due to its remarkable contribution through flagship crops of the island extending from tea, rubber & vegetables to spices. Spearheading the Rebellion back in 1848, Matale today takes immense pride in its story woven around spices. Stop by the side of a spice garden – into which you will be most welcome – and observe the therapeutic values of spices & processes over a refreshing cup of herbal tea! Or spend some time idling on the hardened streets if you mean a real town adventure filled with voices and colors.

Continue to Kandy and check-in at the hotel. (Approx. 1 hr. drive time.) Overnight stay at a hotel in Kandy.

Day 06

Dalada maligawa in Kandy

After breakfast visit Peradeniya Botanical Gardens. (Approx. 30 mints.) Peradeniya lies on the road to Kandy, about 3 kms before reaching the city. It is famous for a large botanical garden, 147 acres in extent, on the banks of the Mahaweli River, which is the longest in Sri Lanka. Carefully nurtured in British times the well-tended garden provides an amazing variety of trees, plants and flowers. On the opposite side of the garden is the prestigious University of Peradeniya, an architectural marvel laid out in an undulating valley. This was established in the early 1950’s and contains student accommodation halls in addition to the learning / teaching / sports facilities.

In the late afternoon visit the Kandy city – the Cultural Capital of Sri Lanka.
The Sri Lankans refer to Kandy as “Maha Nuwara” – the great city. In the times of the kings it was known as “Senkadagala”. It was the last capital of the Sinhala kings and fell to the British conquerors in 1815. Nestling in the central hills, about 112 kms from Colombo, Kandy is a must-see place for all visitors. With a beautiful lake in its midst on the banks of which is the World Heritage site of the Temple of the Tooth, Kandy is a bustling city. The Temple enshrines a tooth, the holiest relic of the Buddha in Sri Lanka, which according to legend was brought in 312 AD by a royal couple from India. Every August the “Esala Perahera” takes place in Kandy, the grandest religious and cultural pageant in the Island. This continues for 8 days – a fascinating spectacle of dancers, drummers and elephants.

A Tuk-Tuk ride around the city will feature the Kandy City Centre – bundled with latest and world class brands, bazaar, an arts & crafts centre, as well as a gem museum & lapidary.
Late in the evening enjoy a cultural show to end another exciting day in the tropical island.

On completion return to the hotel.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Kandy.

Day 07

Kandy/Nuwara Eliya
Ramboda falls in Nuwara Eliya

waterfalls and picturesque mountains.
Your chauffeur guide will pick you from the Nanu-Oya railway station (the nearest station to Nuwara Eliya)
Journey continues to Nuwara Eliya and en-route visit a Tea plantation and a factory to witness the making of world renowned “Ceylon Tea”.
Beginning from the tallest mountain in Sri Lanka, Pidurutalagala (about 2,600 metres) the landscape of the hill country around Nuwara Eliya spreads through hills and valleys and ravines. It is the most popular hill resort in the Island because of its salubrious climate. Ever since a British Governor built a holiday home here in 1828, the place took on the appearance of a quaint old English village with houses in the same style built by British tea-planters. Place names such as Victoria Park, Lake Gregory, Baker’s fall, St. Clare’s fall, etc. all evoke the British legacy. The Grand Hotel and the Golf Club with its 18-hole course, one of the finest in Asia, draw the visitor with their old world charm. The road to Nuwara Eliya runs through manicured tea gardens and majestic hills with cascading waterfalls, and is a most scenic drive. This is the heart of the famed tea plantations which produce the finest teas in the world.

Overnight stay at a hotel in Nuwara Eliya.

Day 08

Nuwara Eliya/Horton Plains/Nuwara Eliya
Horton Plains

Take breakfast packets from the hotel and drive to Horton Plains. (Approx. 1 hr.) Horton Plains is beautiful – it is highlands of Sri Lanka at its pastoral best. In 1833 two British Army officers found this splendid plateau, located about 2,000 metres above sea level, and named it “Horton Plains” in honour of the then British Governor of Ceylon, Sir Robert Horton. The place became a hunting ground for the British occupiers and later two inns were constructed by two Englishmen: James Anderson’s “Anderson Lodge” and Thomas Farr’s “Farr Inn.” The plains are an expanse of 32 square kilometers of virgin beauty, misty grassland dotted with flowering rhododendron bushes ice-cold rivulets brimming with carp and trout. The plains are now a Nature Reserve (soon to be announced as a World Heritage Site) home to the occasional leopard, wild boar and sambhur. The Jungle Fowl and the Yellow-eared Bulbul lead the parade of over 20 endemic and exquisite bird species which can be sighted here. The Belihul Oya stream that passes through cascades down making the Baker’s fall which is another magnificent site. The renowned “World’s End” to the south of the plain, is an escarpment with a sheer drop of about a thousand metres. The view from the World’s End of the surrounding hills and the flat land upto the Southern coast is simply breathtaking and considered to be the finest in Sri Lanka.

On completion return to the hotel in Nuwara Eliya. Evening time at leisure to enjoy the surrounding area and the cool climate.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Nuwara Eliya.

Day 09

Nuwara Eliya/Udawalawe
Udawalawe elephants

After having breakfast proceed to Udawalawe, and check-in to your hotel. In the late afternoon proceed on a game drive. (Approx. 3 & ½ hrs.) After having breakfast proceed to Udawalawe, and check-in to your hotel. In the late afternoon proceed on a game drive.

A safari tour of the Udawalawe National Park is a rewarding trip for wildlife enthusiasts. The park is home to the bear, the leopard, the deer and the sambar, and is well-known for its elephant population. The area of this park is 30,821 hectares and it nestles between the Udawalawe reservoir and the Walawe River. Dawn and dusk are the best times to see the elephants as they march to water-holes.

On completion return to the hotel.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Udawalawe.

Day 10

Yala national park

After breakfast visit Elephant transit Home in Udawalawe. (Approx. 2 hrs.)

Udawalawe Elephant Transit Home bears a different story. Established in 1995, it caters to all injured elephants found in the area before releasing them into their natural habitat. So, make sure to just watch – rather than touch – these gentle giants as they feed, play and mingle with each other, before heading into the wild with one another.

Thereafter proceed to Yala. Check-in to your hotel in Yala or Tissamaharama before going into the wild. An afternoon game drive inside the Yala national Park surely will be a highlight of your holiday.
Originally a hunting ground for the British Colonialists, the vast sprawling area of about 130,000 hectares was declared a Game Preserve. It is undoubtedly the most popular wildlife sanctuary in Sri Lanka. Herds of deer and elephants abound, sightings of bear and leopard are often reported. The sambar and wild boar are common sightings, together with varieties of birds, esp. the peacock.

On completion return to the hotel.
Overnight stay at a hotel in Yala / Tissamaharama.

Day 11

Galle Sri Lanka

After breakfast proceed to Bentota via Galle, which is another UNESCO World Heritage site. (Approx. 3 & ½ hrs. drive)

The old port of Galle, about 115 kms from Colombo, and reachable in an hour from Colombo on the new Southern Expressway, has a long history. Since the times of the Arab traders, it was an important stop on the silk route where they exchanged silks for spices and gems. Other maritime nations followed; the Portuguese, the Dutch, and the British. The Fort built by the Dutch lasts to this day, once again another UNESCO World Heritage site. Galle is a quaint town and a leisurely stroll through the ramparts of the fortress transports one back to another era. The Fort contains a veritable treasure trove of places to visit: The newly-renovated International Cricket Stadium, the Dutch Museum, the Maritime Museum, the Dutch Groote Kerk (Great Church), old mansions with intricate lattice work unique to Dutch architecture, a lighthouse 18 metres tall, and the oldest inn in Sri Lanka, the New Oriental Hotel which is a great place to stay.

Galle is also a hunting ground for antique hunters and some interesting curios can be purchased here. The cosmopolitan nature of the city attracts many tourists also because it is close to the popular beaches of Hikkaduwa, Unawatuna, and Koggala.

Continue your journey towards Bentota. (Approx. 1 & ½ hrs.) Another beach resort area on the south western coast, not too far from Colombo, Bentota offers a further clutch of tourist hotels which are more up-market. A lagoon and a river add to the scenic beauty of the place and provide much scope for water sports such as skiing and water jet scooters.

Overnight stay at a hotel in Bentota.

Day 12

Bentota Sri Lanka

A leisure day to enjoy the lovely beach of Bentota.

Overnight stay at a hotel in Bentota.

Day 13

Bentota Sri Lanka

A leisure day to enjoy the lovely beach of Bentota.

Overnight stay at a hotel in Bentota.

Day 14

Colombo city

After breakfast proceed to Colombo the Commercial capital of the island. (Approx. 2 hrs.)

Colombo was never the capital of Sri Lanka under the Sinhala kings. With the advent of the maritime Western colonialists such as the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British the importance of its port grew. The British made it the capital in 1865. The city has changed rapidly as all cities do and skyscrapers now dot its skyline. Thankfully some beautiful vestiges of the colonial era still remain, e.g. Buildings erected by the Dutch and British and a 100-year old clock tower. The Pettah throbs with a myriad shops where one can look for bargains. Historic temples and churches, the Town Hall and the adjacent park, the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall and the Nelum Pokuna Hall for the Performing Arts (the last two being outright gifts from the People’s Republic of China) are must-see places of interest. Colombo has everything for everyone, including an excellent 18-hole Golf Course.

Overnight stay at a hotel in Colombo.

Day 15

Depart from Sri Lanka airport

Depending on the departure flight, leave hotel prior to the standard check-out time and proceed to the airport. (Approx. 1 hr.)

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